Vikings WR Greg Jennings, who had already been in town and had sat down with HC Mike Zimmer and OC Norv Turner, quickly got a sense of how prominently WR Cordarrelle Patterson would be featured in the Vikings' offense. He wanted to make sure the electric receiver knew what that required of him.
"I wanted him to know that, coming in, the expectation of you is no longer 'rookie.' It's, 'You gotta go. We saw what you can do. We're gonna showcase this,'" Jennings recalled last week. "For me, it was making sure that he understands that he has to be a professional. He has to be a pro's pro when he steps foot in this building, because we're expecting (him) to give us what we've seen you put out there."
Jennings was asked to mentor Patterson last season, as the Vikings signed him to a five-year deal in March 2013 and spent a first-round pick on Patterson a month later. That relationship will continue in 2014, but a year after Patterson put a spark into the Vikings' offense despite a role that even Jennings believed needed to be bigger, there seems to be little doubt about how much the Vikings will use Patterson this season.
All arrows are pointing up for Patterson, who was the #10 WR from Week 10 to Week 17 in his rookie season. He scored seven touchdowns in that span (three rush, four receiving) while racking up 29 catches for 323 yards to go along with 10 carries for 156 rushing yards. With Josh Gordon coming off of a breakout season under new Vikings OC Norv Turner, Patterson should be a fantasy starter sooner rather than later. His TD rate will be difficult to maintain, but he should see a jump in touches in 2014. Patterson is very raw as a route runner and needs to develop quickly in that facet of the game if he's to have the type of season that many are predicting.